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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Mark's Gospel

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Frameworks: Mark's Gospel chapter 12


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a description of what is happening)




v.1-12 The Parable of the Tenants

v.13-17 Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar

v.18-27 Marriage at the Resurrection

v.28-34 The Greatest Commandment

v.35-37 Whose Son Is the Messiah?

v.38-40 Warning Against the Teachers of the Law

v.41-44 The Widow's Offering


v.1-12 The Parable of the Tenants


v.1 (Jesus tells a story about a man's vineyard & watchtower) Jesus then began to speak to them in parables:  “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.  

v.2 (the man sends to collect fruit) At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.  

v.3 (the tenants beat him and send him away) But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed.  

v.4 (this is repeated but worse) Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully.  

v.5 (repeated a third time they kill the collectors) He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.

v.6 (he finally sends his son) “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.'

v.7 (they plot to kill him) “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'  

v.8 (thus they kill the son) So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

v.9 (Jesus asks what will happen – the vineyard will be taken from the tenants) “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.  

v.10,11 (he refers to the scripture about the cornerstone rejected) Haven't you read this passage of Scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected   has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes' [Psa 118:22,23]?”

v.12 (the authorities want to arrest Jesus – but don't) Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.



v.13-17 Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar


v.13 (Pharisees & Herodians seek to trap Jesus) Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words.  

v.14 (they ask about paying taxes to Caesar) They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?  

v.15 (Jesus realises what they are doing) Should we pay or shouldn't we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”  

v.16 (he makes them look at a Roman coin) They brought the coin, and he asked them,  “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar's,” they replied.

v.17 (Jesus' wise answer defuses their trap) Then Jesus said to them,  “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.” And they were amazed at him.


(Note: The question is doubled edged. Paying tax to Caesar annoyed the Jews, refusing to pay would annoy the Romans)



v.18-27 Marriage at the Resurrection


v.18  (next Sadducees come) Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.  

v.19 (they pose a hypothetical situation) “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.  

v.20-22 (it is about a repeated widow) Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third.  In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too.  

v.23 (what happens at the resurrection) At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

v.24 (Jesus denounces their ignorance) Jesus replied,  “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?  

v.25 (it doesn't work like that!) When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.  

v.26 (he refers to God meeting Moses) Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob' [Ex 3:6]?)  

v.27 (he shows resurrection is real) He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”


(Note: The Sadducees didn't believe in a resurrection and seek to show the problems that arise with that idea, but Jesus points out that God is always in the present – in our lives and afterwards)



v.28-34 The Greatest Commandment


v.28 (a teacher asks about the Law) One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

v.29,30 (loving God comes first) “The most important one,”  answered Jesus,  “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.   Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. '[Deut 6:4,5]

v.31 (loving your neighbour comes next) The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. '[Lev 19:18] There is no commandment greater than these.”

v.32,33 (the teacher agrees) “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

v.34 (Jesus affirms the man) When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him,  “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”  And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.



v.35-37 Whose Son Is the Messiah?


v.35 (Jesus is asked about the Messiah) While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked,  “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David?  

v.36 (he refers to what David has said) David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” '[Psa 110:1]

v.37 (clearly it meant more than being David's son) David himself calls him ‘Lord.' How then can he be his son?” The large crowd listened to him with delight.



v.38-40 Warning Against the Teachers of the Law


v.38,39 (Jesus warns the crowd about the pride of the teachers of the law) As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the market places, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets.  

v.40 (he warns of their wrong doings) They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”



v.41-44 The Widow's Offering


v.41 (Jesus is near the place of offerings ) Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.  

v.42 (he observes a widow giving) But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

v.43,44 (he applauds her to his disciples) Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said,  “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”